Bills to Watch: Prohibiting the Use of EBT Cards at ATMs (LD 117)


LD 117, “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Electronic Benefits Transfer System Cards for Cash Withdrawals,” sponsored by Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), seeks to limit fraudulent use of welfare benefits.

The bill would specify that benefits may only be received through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system by electronic transfer at point of sale and prohibit their use for cash withdrawals at automated teller machines (ATMs). LD 117 would make this change in the definitions governing the EBT system. 

EBT cards are issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to dispense benefits from programs such as Mainecare, food stamps, and others.

Currently, the only establishments where use of EBT cards are explicitly prohibited are gambling locations, those which earn more than 50% of gross revenue from selling liquor, or those which “provide adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.”

LD 117 was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on January 10. The committee has not yet scheduled a public hearing on the measure.